JJP PotC: Does Plunder impact tournament viability/TGP?

Continuing the discussion from Pirates of the Caribbean JJP Rulesheet (WIP), where an available map award is the option to “plunder” something from your opponent:

This happened a few days ago at a tournament where the operator doesn’t have tournament mode enabled on their machines [ETA:] had Plunder settings that allowed the plunder of an opponent’s ball. It was a head-to-head match and on ball 3, player 1 had the opportunity to plunder player 2’s ball, so she never got a chance to play ball 3. This seems less than ideal in competitive play.

A few questions that I’m hoping @pinwizj can clarify:

  1. What should the ruling be in this situation? Play it as it lies and then pull the game from the tournament to avoid recurrence? Compensation ball for P2 in order to make it a full 3-ball game of pinball for both players? Say, this is how the game plays, sucks for you if your opponent randomly plunders your ball?
  2. How does the fact that there is the possibility of it not a 3-ball game for both players impact TGP for the event? What if all the other machines are normal 3/5 ball games and PotC is not guaranteed to be played every round, but has an equal chance of being randomly selected as every other game?

Play it as it lies, and then I personally would pull the game from the tournament going forward.

The default with no supporting data is that if an event uses JJPOTC and it’s not in tournament mode, then every round played is graded at 1/3rd value.

For TD’s that have supporting data for their round-to-round play (Brackelope/MatchPlay), we’ll look at the rounds played by the winner of the event. Every round that player played JJPOTC would be graded at 1/3rd value, regardless of whether anything was plundered that game or not. The fact it was POSSIBLE is what the rule is based on.


I think you need to think through your criteria a little bit more.

Tournament mode has nothing to do with whether you can steal balls or not (much like it has nothing to do with whether you can win extra balls or not - FT notwithstanding). Tournament mode would make it significantly harder - 15th plunder option or approximately the 30th map award if the game was on totally default settings.

There is a completely separate setting that allows what can be plundered (extra balls are the “worst”) as well as a setting for plundering amount, which can also be set to 0.

So technically what you need is that there’s a stipulation that eb plundering is off, not that the game is in tournament mode.

Edit to add: To say nothing of being able to pick Weatherby Swann and then plundering is effectively out of the game for 2 players.

Yet another edit for full disclosure - Plundering settings:

  • Plunder Level - how likely plundering is to appear from map awards
    • SNOWFLAKE - 0%
    • LANDLUBBER - 20%
    • SOPHOMORE - 35%
    • BUCCANEER - 50%
    • CUTTHROAT - 65%
    • BEDLAM - 80%
  • Plunder Items - what can be stolen
    • 1 - only gold
    • 2 - gold, points
    • 3 - gold, points, treasures
    • 4 - gold, points, treasures, captain
    • 5 - gold, points, treasure, captain, balls

What Keith said right here :slight_smile:

While I recognize the effort in making this more difficult to achieve, as a TD I need it to be completely impossible to achieve. Taking someone’s turn away is not the same as stealing locks, in my mind, and while there are menu options for removing this game mechanic, I would greatly prefer not to have to fish through those details. In my opinion, this feature should be shut off in tournament mode.

Is it also possible to plunder points? For example, if P1 beats P2 by a small margin, could P3 steal points from P1 and change that outcome?

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(Edited my post with full settings disclosure while you did yours.)

Edit to clarify:

Yes, that is possible with plundering points turned on.

I would also say I’m loathe to flat-out deny plundering just because tournament mode is turned on, but I would consider adding it to “install competition.”

Any chance a setting similar to Stern’s player competition setting could be added for location play without keys? Hold left flipper until display says start competition game, start game and plundering a ball gets much more difficult.

I’ve been meaning to get around to adding player competition, yeah.

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It seems pretty crappy to ban new inventions like the different plundering awards while letting all the old games with carryover features, lock stealing, progressive jackpots, etc into tournaments on the grounds that that’s how they were designed.


An argument can be made that lock stealing and prog jackpots aren’t nearly as impactful as taking someone’s 3rd ball away.

Other games with similar features (Bugs Bunny, Bad Cats?) tend to never be used in tournaments. It’d be sad if JJPPOTC wound up in that group.

If I had a 3rd ball stolen from me in a tournament due to some novelty code that hadn’t been turned off I’d probably quickly become an unnamed but heavily alluded to featured discussion point in the Yellow Card thread.


Yeah, games like Bugs Bunny, Police Force, things where you can “steal your opponent’s score” aren’t good competitive games specifically because they over-plunder. But even they don’t completely take away your opponent’s final ball. In this situation, there’s no recourse for the impacted player to make up those points, or relock those balls, or win out by using a different strategy, because they don’t even get to play.

From what @keefer has shared, it seems like the specific situation I’m describing can be rectified by setting Plunder Items somewhere in the 1 - 4 range, rather than 5. How much plundering one is willing to allow is a separate part of the discussion, and I think the existence of this Plunder Spectrum, as it were, means that this game won’t fall in the “unusable” category for top tier events. But if you don’t have control over the settings in a tournament situation, I’d say use at your own risk.


The problem’s solvable with day 0 code. Turn it off if you don’t like it.

I think most tournaments of any note/value are generally run with access to the keys. No offense to other tournaments intended.


I’d guess that most leagues that play on location don’t have access that allows for making game adjustments. We can ask the employees to take the glass off to free a stuck ball but making adjustments is a whole new level of inconvenience. Bugs Bunny and Lights, Camera, Action, and Apollo 13 are all out due to their unfairness that we can’t control.

It’s less likely to be used in league if there is inherent unfairness that can’t be turned off with no keys.


That’s part of the reason I suggested adding a player competition mode above.

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Purely for discussion sake:

I don’t see plundering of balls changing TGP under the current ifpa tournament rules.
The player got 3 balls, they just may have lost some to plunder.

IIRC Ifpa TGP doesnt address cause of loss of ball vs TGP - Tilt? DQ? …

IMO IFPA TGP rules should specifically address one player affecting another player’s game through gameplay if they want to address plunder, else as-is I would argue it is fair game.


I’m not clear on the difference between “tournament” and “competition” modes. Can you clarify a bit? Thanks!

If anyone could clarify this for stern games too that would be swell.

If you don’t have keys and don’t like how a game has chosen to have the players interact (point/ball stealing, catch up features, etc) simply play 1p games. That is always in your toolbox as a TD.

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As we use them here, it’s the same thing. I casually call it tournament mode since that’s what we’re used to from Williams days, but when TOPS for-cash-money tournaments became a thing, those became tournaments and tournament mode became competition mode.

I looked up in the code when I was responding to see what it was called and it was in fact called “install competition” so I switched to that nomenclature since that’s what faces the public. I guess we call all classic tournament stuff competition in our games too to be consistent with distinguishing between cash tournaments and competitions as we know them, so it was inconsistent of me to call it tournament. Please s/tournament/competition/ every post of mine in this thread. :wink:

The etymology for tournament vs competition mostly related to Golden Tee being a thing. Since they called their cash competitions tournaments, the Great Renaming occurred for us (Stern) at the time as well when TOPS was released. Since I’m the one that came up with the name “compeition mode,” you’d think I’d be better and more consistent in using that terminology. Sorry!